How I meal plan each month

How I meal plan each month

So, let me be honest with you. I don’t love grocery shopping. If I am just running in for a few things, I don’t mind, but the whole, walking around for a really long time getting all kinds of things isn’t my favorite way to spend time. So, I try to minimize how often I have to do it. So, for me, and my family, meal planning for the month works. It is time consuming, and I’m sure that there is probably a more efficient way to do this, and some pretty printer ink wasting printables to help, but this is what I do.

First, I write the days of the week down the side of a sheet of paper. I write out four weeks, and this is more of a way for me to cover the whole month than it is an actual plan. For example, just because I might have spaghetti squash and meat sauce written in the slot for the third Tuesday of the month doesn’t mean that’s when we’ll actually eat it. We’ll actually eat when I feel like making it. 😉 Once I have the days written down, I start going through my pinterest, my bookmarks, and my cookbooks to figure out what recipes I want to make. Once I write down a recipe, since I have the link or the cookbook open anyway, I simply turn to a second sheet of paper and write down the ingredients I need for that recipe. If it’s the second (third, fourth….) time I am listing an ingredient, I’ll just make a tally mark next to it on my list. So, I end up with two lists. The first list, is just a list of what I plan to cook for the month, and it looks something like this:
How I meal plan for the month

The second list, is the actually shopping list, and it looks something like this:
How I meal plan for the month

Now, if I have a really long list, and some extra time, I might reorganize the shopping list into sections, (meat, produce, frozen, pantry) to make it easier in the grocery store, but that part is hit or miss for me. I also sometimes make a note, next to the recipe, to tell me where it came from (page number of what cookbook, for example). That just saves me some time trying to find a recipe when it comes time to do the actual cooking.

You might notice that I only write down something for dinner. I tend to eat similar things for breakfast and lunch, so I just tend to add them to the grocery list part, instead of the meal plan list. I also usually leave a space or two open for left overs or whatever. Also, I never buy all of the produce at once. I usually run out once a week (Or ever few days, sometimes) to get what I need. I would hate to have it go bad before I get to eat it all.

So, that is how I meal plan for the month. Do you meal plan? How does your system compare to mine? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

This recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna is a spin on a recipe that I found on pinterest. (You can follow me here.)The original recipe is called Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash and can be found at www.arismenu.com/lasagna-stuffed-spaghetti-squash/ The first time I made the recipe, I followed it as written (changing some of the meats, and swapping fat free dairy for the good stuff), and while it was delicious, it also felt a bit unbalanced to me. Part of the appeal of lasagna, to me anyway, is the layering of flavors, and when I made the recipe this way, there was a lot of flavor on top, followed by a lot of spaghetti squash. So, the next time I made it, I made a few changes to the recipe and this is what I got.

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Ingredients:
1 large spaghetti squash
1 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper
1 onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground sausage
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Cut spaghetti squash in half legnthwise and scrape out the stem and seeds
-Place spaghetti squash face down in an oven safe pan, filled with about 1/2 inch of water
-Bake for 40-60 minutes, until spaghetti squash is tender and pulls apart easily
-Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil, add the garlic and onion and saute until fragrant
-Add the ground sausage, ground beef, salt and pepper
-Once the meat has browned, add the crushed tomatoes, and 1 tsp each of basil and oregano
-When the sauce starts to bubble, reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes to allow it to thicken
-In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 tsp each of basil and oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper
-When the spaghetti squash has finished cooking, remove it from the oven. Scrape the squash from one half of the squash and layer it in the bottom of a 2.75 QT pyrex dish. Next layer 1/2 the meat mixture, followed by 1/2 the cheese mixture. Continue by layering the rest of the squash, followed by the rest of the meat mixture, and the rest of the cheese mixture. Top with the shredded motzarella chese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the motzarella begins to brown.
-Eat it up

The recipe was a bit more work this way, but to me, it was worth it. I really enjoyed the finished product more this way. Let me know what you think if you try it out!

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Follow me

Follow me! (And pay not attention to how creepy that actually sounds..)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I am working on getting myself out there on more social media sites. I’ve added a few new badges to my side bar, and have just joined Blog Lovin. I would love to get some followers over there. I also just created a new Instagram, http://www.instagram.com/adventuresofacavemom, and will hopefully be setting up a new pinterest site soon. (I’ll update when I do).

So, please join me if you are on these sites, and don’t forget to check me out on Facebook, (www.faceboom.com/adventuresofacavemom) too.

Also, please feel free to share my page with anyone that you think might be interested.

Update: You can now find me on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/advcavemom

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Pregnancy Weight Gain Issues

Pregnancy weight gain issues

Warning: This post is going to be a bit rant-y. I was on facebook recently and came across this article.Now, I get that this model posted pictures of herself on social media, so in some ways, she opened herself up a bit. However, at the end of the day, how much weight a woman gains or doesn’t gain during pregnancy isn’t actually any of our business. That’s between her and her doctor. Not you. Not me. Not a bunch of people sitting at home at their computers.

During my first pregnancy, I lost a lot of weight. I went into labor weighing 5lbs less than I weighed when I got pregnant. Did I try to lose weight? Absolutely not. I was horrendously sick. I had morning sickness, around the clock, until the end of my 7th month. I couldn’t keep any food or drinks down at all until my fifth month, and then it was a 50/50 chance as to whether what I ate would stay down or not. It was awful. My doctors were monitoring me closely,and at one point, I had to have an extra ultrasound to make sure that my baby was actually growing properly. I was terrified, every day, that my baby was in danger because of how sick I was. All anyone could comment on, however, was my weight loss. They meant well, it was usually a compliment, but it only added to my stress. Pregnancy is a stressful thing to start with, and to have everybody commenting and judging is terrible. Everywhere I went, people somehow felt like they had a right to comment on my body.

Now, I understand that this is a different situation from the model who is working out during her entire pregnancy, and trying to keep her weight gain low. There are incredible benefits to working out while pregnant. However, none of that is my business. Just like it’s not my business how much weight Kim Kardashian or Jessica Simpson gained or didn’t gain. That’s between them and their doctors, and I can promise you that their doctors are keeping an eye on it. My doctor certainly did. So, can we, as women just stop bashing each other over how our bodies change when we make babies? Growing a human being, bringing another life into this world is not an easy job. Let’s just celebrate the miracle of that, and leave the scale comments out of it. Let their doctors worry about it. It’s time that women stop bashing one another and start having each other’s backs. Why not start now?

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Paleo Taco Stuffed Peppers

Paleo Taco Stuffed Peppers
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This came about on one of those nights were I had no idea what make for dinner. I had some ground beef defrosted, but burgers didn’t sound good to me. So, I looked around at what I had, created these paleo taco stuffed peppers, and they turned out quite tasty.

Taco Stuffed Peppers:
Ingredients:
Cauliflower Rice“>Cauliflower Rice
1 lb ground beef
Taco Seasoning (I used 3 TBSP of this recipe
4 Large Bell Peppers
1 Tomato, diced
Cheese (optional)

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Directions:
Preheat oven to 350
Brown the beef in a skillet, adding the taco seasoning as you cook (add more or less, depending on your preferences), drain, and set aside
Prepare the cauliflower rice, set aside
Cut the tops off the green peppers, and remove the steams and seeds, place them upright in a baking dish
Fill each pepper with about an inch of the cauliflower rice,
Add ground beef on top of the cauliflower rice, pressing it down with a spoon
Top with shredded cheese, if desired
Bake for 25-30 minutes
Top with diced tomato
You could also top with sour cream if you eat dairy, gacamole if you’d like, or whatever toppings you would normally put on a taco,

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Note: You could boil the green peppers to soften them prior to cooking, if you like. We just prefer our peppers to be a bit crunchier.
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Recipe Testing for Paleo Takeout

Recipe Testing for Paleo Takeout
A few weeks ago, I can across a facebook thread, from The Domestic Man. He is publishing a new cookbook, and was looking for volunteers to test a recipe from the cookbook, and the then give him some feedback on it. Of course, I jumped at the chance to participate. Once accepted into the group, I was given a list of all of the recipes that are going to be in this new book, Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites Without the Guilt
“>Paleo Takeout. I then had the impossible task of picking just one to test. Now, let me tell you, the recipes that are included in this book are awesome! There are so many that I wanted to try. I settled on testing calzones, though, because I knew that it was going to be quite likely that I would have all of the ingredients at home already. I did have most of them on hand, but there were a few I needed to pick up at the store. I found them at a regular grocery store, though, so that was easy enough.

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Let me say that I have never made calzones before, so the idea was a bit intimidating, but the instructions were really straightforward and easy to follow. I made the marinara sauce recipe that was included as well, because if you are going to test a recipe, you should really test it. The sauce was time consuming, as it took two hours to fully cook, and working on a gas stove, I found that I needed to add water a few times, and keep a close watch on it to keep it from burning. I am, however, glad I did because it was delicious.

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Now, in terms of the calzones, the recipe calls for them to be cooked on baking sheets. I only have one, so I used one baking sheet, and one pizza stone. The one that was pre cooked on the pizza stone cracked a bit when I stuffed it and folded it. The other one, folded flawlessly.

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I also had a bit of trouble getting them to “seal” around the edge, but they stayed together anyway, so that wasn’t really a big deal in the end. All in all, I would have to say that these were a winner in our house. Even the two year old approved, which is no small feat. I will definitely be making these again in the future. For the test, we filled them with cheese (although he offers a dairy free solution), pepperoni and green peppers. I already have lots of ideas for other fillings, but I’d love to hear you favorite calzone fillings in the comments.

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Please note, this post contains an affiliate link. If you follow the link and purchase the item I recommend, I make a small commission. That money just helps me keep this blog running. Thanks.

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Arrowroot Powder Pizza Crust Recipe

Arrowroot Powder Pizza Crust

Most people who are paleo will tell you that at some point or another, they just really miss pizza. We’re no exception to this rule. Finding a good paleo pizza recipe, however, can be tough. It’s a lot of trial and error, and sadly, some not so good dinners along the way. Well, I happened upon this recipe from Paleo Spirit. I don’t have, and have never actually used Tapioca Starch, so I substituted arrowroot powder, since I’ve heard that they can be substituted for one another. I also always add some Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme, and a little rosemary) to my pizza crusts. I add the dried herbs on top of whatever liquid the recipe calls for. This refreshes the herbs so to speak and makes them a bit more flavorful. Here is a picture  of the cooked crust.

Arrowroot Powder Pizza Crust

I then topped it with some home made pizza sauce, cheese (we eat dairy) and some pepperoni. It turned out to be really tasty.

Arrowroot Powder Pizza Crust

Ingredients:
1 cup arrowroot powder

1/3 cup + 2-3 TBSP coconut flour, separated

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 TBSP dried Italian seasoning

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup warm water

1 large egg, whisked

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F

2. Combine the arrowroot powder, salt, Italian seasonings, and 1/3 cup coconut flour in a bowl. Mix well

3. Pour in oil and warm water. Stir Add the whisked egg and mix until well combined

4. Slowly add 2-3 TBSP more of coconut oil, one at a time, until the mixture is a somewhat sticky dough

5. Put dough on a surface sprinkled with arrowroot powder and gently need it until it becomes a manageable ball that doesn’t stick to your hands

6. Place the ball on a sheet of parchment paper and using a rolling pin that has been dusted with arrowroot powder, roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thick crust.

7. Place the dough, still on the parchment paper onto a pizza stone and bake for 12-15 minutes

8. Remove the pizza crust from the oven, add toppings and cook for a few more minutes until the toppings are done

 

 

 

 

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Jamberry Nails Review

Jamberry Nails Review

A few weeks ago, my sister in law invited me to her online Jamberry party. I have been invited to a few of these in the past, but to be honest, I wasn’t really all that interested. I love the idea of my finger nails looking great, but I am a mom. I live in the real world. If I sit down to polish my finger nails, it is a fool proof way to get one, or both of my children to suddenly and urgently need something from me. Even if they are sleeping, they will wake up and need me. Every time. And I certainly don’t have the disposable income to be shelling out to go to the salon and get real manicures all the time. They were mailing out samples for this party, though, so I figured I would try one.

Jamberry is bit different, though. They call them wraps, but they basically look like really fun stickers for your finger or toe nails. You take a wrap, cut it to slightly longer than you need, grab it on the end with a pair of tweezers (or their fancy application tool), heat them up for a few seconds with your hair dryer (or their fancy heat tool),  set it on your nail, and press down to set it. Then you can trim, or file off any extra and apply a bit more heat. It sounds complicated, but it’s really pretty easy. I was able to an accent nail on each hand in a few minutes. I would guess that you get faster the more you do it. They last longer than nail polish would, around 2 weeks for each application. Each set costs $15 (although they sometimes offer deals), and you get about 2-3 manicures per set. So, even if you only got 2 manicures, you’re paying $7.50 per manicure. That’s significantly cheaper than a trip to the nail salon, but about the same price as a good bottle of polish, which would get you way more than 2-3 manicures. So, if it’s money that you would spend anyway, I would definitely check it out. They have a ton of different styles and they really are fun. So, while I can pay shell out the money for them all of the time, l definitely be sporting some once in awhile.

Jamberry Nails ReviewJamberry Nails Review

If you are interested in learning more about them, or what to give them a try, check out this page.

(PS. Nobody asked me to write the review or to post their link. If you buy anything, you’re just buying from a friend and a really great mom. I get nothing out of the deal.)

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Taking the Plunge

So, I’ve been blogging, pretty inconsistently, I will admit, for quite some time now. I have developed a little following here, which is amazing. I have a few followers on my facebook page, and a lot of followers on my twitter page and I was starting to think that maybe the time had come to take my blog to the next level. So, that’s exactly what I did. With a lot of support from my husband www.adventuresofacavemom.wordpress.com is now www.adventuresofacavemom.com. While this might not seem like a big deal to you, it is a big step for me.

What this means for you, the reader, is that 1. I hope to be here, on this blog, publishing quality content more often, whether that be paleo related, food related, or mommy related. 2. I hope that I can improve my pictures to a point where they are doing the food I am making a bit more justice. 3. You will be seeing a few adds pop up on this page. This is an easy way for me to make a little bit of money, to help me run this blog. If you click on an ad that interests you, awesome, if not, that’s okay, too. I’m really just happy to have you here. On that note, I don’t even want to become one of those pages that is bombarding you with ads, pop ups, or other craziness. So, if you start to find the ads to be overwhelming, leave me a comment, or send me a message. The goal here is to help people, and I don’t want anything to come in the way of that. 4. In the future, you might start to see affilate links. These are links to products that I recommend. (I won’t like to anything that I think is garbage). If you purchase one of these items using one of these links, I would make a small percentage from the sale. Again, my intention won’t be to bombard anyone with this stuff, but I find something to be helpful, and I can make a few bucks sharing that information with you, that would be awesome for me. (Diapers are expensive, after all.)

It is my hope that I will be able to use this page to reach even more people. So, please, if you like what you see here, share my page, send me a comment or two, or subscribe. It would mean a lot to me. If you don’t like my page, send me a message and let me know what you’d like to see (or not see). Either way, thank for being here, and coming along on this journey with me.

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Paleo Korean Beef

Paleo Korean Beef

Paleo Korean Beef

You will have to forgive this horrid picture. Believe it or not, I am trying to improve my photography skills. Regardless, this dish was much better than it looks, and easy to make. It only took a few minutes to make this meal. Now, that is white rice (oh, the HORROR!) that you see the Paleo Korean Beef served over. White rice is another one of those grey area paleo foods. Some people say yay, some people say nay. My philosophy on all of these gray area foods is to listen to your body. If you eat it, and your body doesn’t feel so hot afterwards, don’t eat it again. If it doesn’t have any negative effects, then you’re probably okay. We don’t eat white rice often. This meal was absolutely a “we need to go to the grocery store, so what can I make with what I have” recipe, and it turned out well. I used a recipe that I found online http:// http://elizabethbryant.blogspot.com/2010/05/korean-beef.html, and modified it to make it paleo.

Ingredients:
I lb ground beef (I bet bison would also be tasty)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1 TBS sesame oil
3 gloves of garlic minced*
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until it’s brown. Drain any excess fat. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add them to the skillet. Simmer for a few minutes and serve. I served it over cauliflower rice.

*Confession….I know that fresh is always better, but I buy the already minced garlic that they sell in jars at the grocery store. 1/2 tsp is the equivilent to one clove of fresh garlic. I use this cheat in every single recipe I make. Nobody has ever noticed a difference and I save myself a few minutes of time. I’m sure chefs would cringe at this thought, but I’m sure you fellow moms out there feel me.

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